2008 Turner Flux Review from Spoke issue 30

Turner produces a lineup of six full suspension mountain bike frames; each one is positioned in the high performance bracket of the market and is hand crafted in the USA. While the four-inch travel Flux has taken over from the now discontinued Nitrous as Turner’s cross-country race-oriented machine, it would be unfair to pigeon hole it as a race bike. Unlike the Nitrous, which was cutting-edge light but carried a rider weight limit and was recommended for race use only, the Flux is built to withstand everyday use while maintaining a respectable low weight. This made it an appealing choice for me. While I like to make an appearance at the occasional race, most of my riding tends to involve lengthy trail rides, and more often than not I’m kept company by fit, experienced riders who have a sadistic bent towards driving a steaming pace both up and down the mountain. I appreciate all the help I can get.

Building up the Flux, I carried over my ‘08 XT groupset and components, which I’d come to trust for their emphasis on reliability and durability, rather than striving for a ridiculously low weight. Turner recommends using a 100–130 mm travel fork to complement the rear travel of the frame and after some experimentation I went with Marzocchi’s 120 mm travel 2008 Marathon Corsa.From the first outing on the trail the bike’s racer personality made its presence felt, with a distinct lack of frame flex and suspension that remains very stable under power, with no hint of pedal feedback. It doesn’t give anything up in terms of suppleness to achieve this either; riders with a reasonably smooth pedal stroke can enjoy riding this bike with the Fox RP23’s shock set to the ‘open’ position. I found myself leaving it on this setting a great deal of the time. I’ve found that the lightest of the three Propedal settings on the rear shock is the most compression damping that is ever really called for; the linkage system is remarkably efficient and little performance is gained by heavily damping it.

These characteristics make for a ride that is blisteringly fast going uphill. While the bike will naturally climb at its best with a 100 mm travel fork, I found that riding with a 120 mm fork made very little difference to the bike’s capabilities on steep, technical sections. What this does do is relax the geometry of the frame ever so slightly, unleashing its true handling potential on descents, where again the frame’s stiffness and supple suspension are put to good effect.

Properly set up, the Flux makes full use of its travel without ever feeling like you’re blowing through it, and heavy braking has no discernable effect on the suspension’s plushness. If anything, it has the effect of making the rear squat just slightly, a deliberate design feature that aims to balance the slight fork dive that occurs in this situation. Combined, these characteristics make the Flux a blast to descend on, with the slightly longer stroke fork up front making for a more stable, trail bike temperament than the twitchy, nervous feel that is normally associated with cross-country race bikes.

Turner builds bikes to last, and from a maintenance perspective there is very little here to fuss over. Departing from current trends, every linkage on the frame pivots around precision bushings that Turner promises will far outlast cartridge bearings. The only attention they’ve seen over months of winter use is the occasional pump of grease, and so far they’ve stayed tight, smooth and creak free. The craftsmanship of this frame is really quite something; all the welds are immaculate, and the machine work really does raise the bar. Overall, The Flux is an incredibly well made piece of gear, and its striking industrial good looks demonstrate form following function. Ten months on, I still get excited about this bike every time I ride it. Josh Wrigley

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